Sewage treatment plants host tours

Large, expensive, important government buildings usually get a lot of public attention – unless they’re wastewater treatment plants.

People in Nashua and Merrimack can change that today, when their sewage-treatment plants are hosting open houses. Free tours are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

These are the latest in a series of public tours of sewage plants around New England, organized to go along with The United Nations’ declaration of 2008 as “The International Year of Sanitation.”

The appeal was summed up by this sentence from a tour participant in a press release about the tours: “I didn’t realize how complicated this is. . . . It’s kind of gross, but it’s fascinating.”

A key part of many tours is the processing of what is now known as “biosolids” – dried sludge left over after treatment. A number of technologies are being developed to make use of the material, or at least to reduce the cost and environmental impact of its disposal.

The tours, in fact, are being partly organized by the North East Biosolids and Residuals Association.

Nashua’s plant is on Sawmill Road. Call 589-3560 for information.

Merrimack’s plant is at 36 Mast Road. Call 883-8196 for information.